NO HELMET, NO PROBLEM—Courier photographer Thomas Sabol captures Steelers rookie LB T.J. Watt still battling, even after his helmet was knocked off, during a play against the Falcons, Aug. 20 at Heinz Field.

“Got my mojo working, but it just won’t work on you. Got my mojo working, but it just won’t work on you. I’m going down to Louisiana to get me a mojo hand I’m going down to Louisiana to get me a mojo hand. Got my mojo working, but it just won’t work on you.” (Muddy Waters)

The Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Aug. 20 at Heinz Field and won by the untidy score 17-13. Regardless of how this almost-meaningless preseason game played out, the game caused me to have a flashback to a song that my father and grandfather used to love; “I got my mojo working,” recorded by the late, great Muddy Waters. My “pap” and my father would often refer to a man or woman who had fallen madly in love with the opposite sex as being a victim of “roots” or a well-placed “mojo” or spell that was placed upon them.

AUBREY BRUCE
COURIER STEELERS CENTRAL

Let’s fast forward to the Steelers of 2017. If last Sunday was any indicator, the Steelers just might be the new “root” workers in the NFL, especially in the division where they compete, the AFC North. Players with names like Juju Smith-Shuster, Fitzgerald Toussaint and Stephon Tuitt seem as if they are fresh off a Louisiana riverboat looking to make a few friendly wagers. With “Juju” lining up for the Black and Yellow, I am totally convinced that a new “mojo-hand” will have a place of residence in the Steelers nation. Take a listen boys and girls, if the Steelers can’t get their mojo going, I am reasonably certain that they can get their “Juju” workin’, even if “Juju” hasn’t quite proven himself yet. Another one of the sorcerer’s apprentices that may be on the true road to stardom is rookie running back James Conner. After a slow start against the Falcons, Conner turned up the propane tank and torched the Falcons for 98 yards on 20 carries. The one negative about Conner’s performance was that he dropped a few easy passes, but those miscues could have easily been attributed to a slight case of the jitters. Nonetheless, he confirmed that he realizes how important it is for him to be a quality receiver in Steelers offensive coordinators Todd Haley’s offense as well as a great rusher. Conner does not want to be a “situational” back and said as much. “(I don’t want to be) short yardage, I just want to be a valuable receiver,” he said. As the game progressed, Conner also appeared as if he became more comfortable with the Steelers’ zone-blocking scheme.

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